When I ran an advertising agency, I was in the privileged position of getting to see how big businesses operated behind the scenes.
I also often had occasion to talk to people working in those businesses in a way which entailed them confessing to me how things really were.
It was common to find that beneath the shiny surface veneer, most organisations spent quite a bit of their time flying by the seat of their pants.
Their people are often poorly motivated, and inter-departmental (even intra-departmental) warfare is rife.
Yet, as I say, look at that organisation from the outside, and you’d probably believe they were a paragon of virtue.
My good friends at Action for Happiness in London use a powerful line in one of their posters (which promote, well, actions for happiness) that suggests we shouldn’t compare our insides with other people’s outsides.
I love this idea, as I think it describes exactly what we’re often inclined to do.
Even worse, we probably take a jaundiced view of our insides, which we then compare with the ‘grass is always greener’ conclusions we draw when we observe others.
If your life goes through a grey patch, you may peer around and imagine everyone else is fine, compounding your own despair.
But this is because you’re comparing you own inner feelings with the masks that many others may be showing to the world.
You’re comparing apples with oranges.
Better by far, if you can, to accept that most of us are flakier on the inside than we seem.
Perhaps in some ways we’re all slightly mad.
Well, I do speak for myself, of course.